Many tears were shed at the Hopkins County School Board meeting Monday when Superintendent Dr. Deanna Ashby announced her retirement, effective June 30.
After 29 years with the local school system, Ashby said a desire to spend more time with family was the driving force behind her decision.
“Through the years, I have been blessed beyond measure by students, colleagues and the community,” she said. “I was warmly welcomed to the Hopkins County Schools family and developed a firm foundation for a rewarding career.”
Ashby said the decision to retire was not due to the ongoing pandemic.
“While this year has been very stressful on everybody, it is not the reason I am retiring,” she said. “I think if anything, it has caused all of us — within our staff, administrators and in our community — to pull together.”
In the early 1990s, Ashby took a job at the former South Hopkins High School as a business and marketing teacher and cheerleading coach. Since that time, she has served as principal of Hanson Elementary; district director of secondary instruction; principal, assistant principal, and guidance counselor at Madisonville North Hopkins High School and assistant superintendent of student services before accepting the superintendent position in 2016.
“My time serving in various district leadership positions has given me the opportunity to develop long-lasting friendships and valued colleagues across the county and state,” she said.
During the meeting, Ashby noted several accomplishments she was most proud to be a part of, including placing school resource officers at every school, building a top-notch district leadership team, creating an Inclusivity Committee and HCS Health Task Force that provides greater resources to students and staff and fostering the #TeamHopkins philosophy and culture of working together across the district.
“There have been many heartfelt moments and life-changing events that have occurred during my 29 years in education,” said Ashby.
Many people at the meeting spoke about how Ashby changed their lives and reflected on when they first met. The entire board thanked Ashby for her commitment to the students and her creativity.
Board member J.W. Durst said her creativity and determination translated to the board, which made each of them better board members.
The board said it will announce plans to form a search committee to begin the process of finding Ashby’s replacement at its Monday meeting.
In other news from Monday’s meeting, the board:
• recognized Browning Springs Middle School Custodian Kendra Davis and the entire cafe staff at Hopkins County Central High Schools with the #LionChaser/#GiantSlayer award for their dedication to the school and its students.
• approved the graduation dates and rain dates for Hopkins County Academy, Hopkins County Central High and Madisonville North Hopkins High.
The Academy’s graduation will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 13 at Hopkins Central.
Hopkins Central’s graduation ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20. Madisonville North’s graduation will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 21.
• approved an agreement with the Ballard Convention Center to host ACT testing for Hopkins County Central and Madisonville North Hopkins juniors.
• approved invoice payments to Downey Construction in the amount of $138,651.55 for the Browning Springs Middle School Fieldhouse/Bus Driver Training Center.
• approved invoice payments to Lynn Blue Print & Supply Co., Inc. in the amount of $21,857.77 for blue prints for the new Hanson Elementary School.
• approved invoice payments to Ronald Johnson & Associates for $300 and Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects PLLC for $9,876.05 for architect services for the new Hanson Elementary School.
• approved invoice payments to SKY Engineering in the amount of $11,760 for mechanical designs for the James Madison Middle School cooling tower.
• approved to advertise for bids to replace the network cabling in Madisonville North Hopkins High School, South Hopkins Middle School, Pride Elementary and Grapevine Elementary.
• approved an agreement for the Hopkins County Central High School and Madisonville North Hopkins High School swim teams to use the Hopkins County Family YMCA pool.
approved the purchase of the builder’s risk policy from Cincinnati Insurance Company for construction of the new Hanson Elementary School.
approved a memorandum of agreement with the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative and partnering local law enforcement to help improve school safety.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 1 at the Hopkins County Career and Technology Center.